ROUND TWO: 10-rewind vs. 15-derelict

[click image to view matchup in full screen in a new window.]

The Poets’ Challenge: Each poet is assigned a single word based on their bracket seed, ranging from 1 (intuitive) to 16 (seemingly impossible). Poets must write a kid-appropriate poem using the prompted word in under 36 hours. Once both final poems have been received, they will be pasted into the body of this post, and then the reader poll will be open for voting.

Voter Instructions: Read each poem as many times as you’d like. Then use the poll to express your preference. Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered. As a guideline for voting, consider the criteria on which the contestants on the cooking show “Chopped” are evaluated: presentation, taste, and creativity. Translated roughly into poetry terms, presentation might include technical aspects such as meter, rhyme, form/shape, etc.; taste might be the net effect — did the poem move you to laugh, cry, think, kill, etc.; and creativity might include the poet’s approach toward a certain subject, image evocation, clever wordplay, etc.

“This is awesome, where can I find more?”: All results and scheduled matchups, including a glance at the round-by-round writing windows and voting windows, are visible from the Live Scoreboard page. In addition, results will be tweeted from @edecaria as they become final.

Here are the poems:

The Battle Cry of Blustery Hill
by Kristy Dempsey

The wind whips wild,
attacks my kite; it soars
then dives, a free-for-all fight.
I tug it quick, rewind
the string, take up the slack
and send my kite winging back
to war with the wind:


by Allan Wolf

The pirate ship is derelict, abandoned on the sea.
The garden is deserted, blossoms withered into weeds.
The tire swing spins slowly as its lonely rope unravels.
The secret trail is thick with leaves. The quest is left untraveled. 
The jungle gym is choked with vines.  The tree fort stands alone.
Imagination moved away; the children have all grown.



10-rewind vs. 15-derelict: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 10-rewind (Kristy Dempsey) (40%, 57 Votes)
  • 15-derelict (Allan Wolf) (60%, 85 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

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GET OUT THE VOTE. The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes. For Round 2, our goal is to DOUBLE the average vote total for all matchups compared to Round 1 … that’s 300+ votes! Use the share buttons below and mention the madness wherever you go so that these poems reach more kids!>

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  • Dom D

    Ed, I hope this is not a commentary on Allan’s fun comments throughout the tourney thus far. :)

  • Kristy Dempsey

    Ha! Dom D.! Formidable might be a better word for Allan!

  • Julie Larios

    Ooh – these words have a post-modern egde, no? Should be fun.

  • Allan Wolf

    I don’t trust that Christy Dempsy as far as I can spell her.

    • Kristy Dempsey

      You make me giggle, you formidable foe. By the way, no pressure, but I already wrote a poem with BOTH of our words. It wasn’t my submission, ’cause I didn’t want to draw any attention from your derelict poem, of course. But mine is historical! (And maybe even hysterical.) (And hey, I just remembered you’re from Asheville. Did I ever tell you I’m from Travelers Rest, SC? Just past Hendersonville across the state line.)

      • Allan Wolf

        You wrote a poem with both words? Teachers pet! But hey, if you’re from South Kakalak, you’ve gotta be okay.

  • Michele Krueger

    Kudos to both- a lyrical kite and a poignant recollection. Hard choice!

  • Kristy Dempsey

    Allan, dude. I sorta cried when I read your poem. Nice job.

    • Kristy Dempsey

      And I know we’ve been joking but I mean that with all sincerity!

    • Brian, Emmalie, Ashlyn Ward

      Good LUCK, Kristy

    • Allan Wolf

      Oh, geez, Dempsey. Don’t get all sincere on me. Kid poets are such sorry trash talkers! : )

  • Quinette Cook

    I would be derelict if I didn’t vote on this matchup! Let me rewind that I would be derelict if I didn’t voite on this matchup. And oh what a matchup!

    Congrats on two great poems.

  • Quinette Cook

    Allan, I checked out your book “The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic” and loved it so much I bought it. The only thing missing is your signature!

    • Allan Wolf

      Thanks Quinette. Where do you live? If you want you can just sign my name yourself. Better yet, you could sign Kristy Dempsey’s name. Since Kristy’s getting all sincere here, I’m sincerely touched that you liked WATCH. It was a ton of fun. I’m going to be sending out a daily Titanic Trivia Tweet from now through the end of April. Check it out. If you don’t do the twitter thing, you can get the posting by “liking” my Allan Wolf author page. Ooooo Waaaaait a minute. Are we networking?

      • Renee LaTulippe

        Oops, Allan. I went to find your FB author page and think I sent a friend request on your personal page. Feel free to ignore it. But where is your author page? Can you provide a link?

        • Allan Wolf

          hey Renee. I just posted it on your FB Wall. Not sure why the Allan Wolf Author page wouldn’t come up for you. Disturbing. Anyway, thanks for Liking AND Friending me! Allan

      • Quinette Cook

        I might “like” your page. We’ll see how the tournament goes. Bwaaaa, haaaaa, haaaa, haaa!

        • Allan Wolf

          Okay Quinette, Regardless of how the tournament ends could you at least “respect” my page? How come there’s not a “respect” page on Facebook?

  • Catherine Johnson

    Another tough one, enjoying these lovely poems.

  • Kristy Dempsey

    It’s so fun for this to be a non-competitive competition. I was cheering (for good poetry!) when I saw how well Allan’s poem was crafted. So many good poems being created. And even though there is voting, I wouldn’t have written so many poems in the last few days if it weren’t for the fun we were having here. (Maybe none of us would!) SO hurrah!

    • Susan Taylor Brown

      You absolutely said it, Kristy. We’re competing for fun and for the love of poetry. It doesn’t get much better than that.

      • Susan Taylor Brown

        Although I fear there is going to be tremendous letdown when the tournament is over with and we don’t all get to keep hanging out and stuff.

        • Allan Wolf

          There’s always next year.

          • Susan Taylor Brown

            But Allan, now all the entire world knows about it and everyone else is going to want to play. Oh wait, you mean that was the whole idea? :) Ed’s going to have to draft folks for next year. I think he’s going to have a lot more than 64 people who want to play.

        • Ed DeCaria

          Oh, I’ve got some ideas to remedy that. No reason for this pop-up community to dissolve into dust once the calendar turns to April.

          • Susan Taylor Brown

            I am SO happy to hear this.

          • Janet

            I second what Susan says!! Can’t wait. This has turned into the best part of my day.

    • April Halprin Wayland

      Yes, yes–it’s fun and scary and I have all these kindergarten feelings and we’re a community and they picked me last for the team and isn’t this fun and yes…the kids have moved away…but we showed ‘em…our imaginations are alive and well!

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    LOVED both of these poems!
    Kristy, love the kite. I love flying kites and do so when I can (people look around for some kid that I must be holding the string for, and then when they don’t see one, make their own judgments…)

    Allan, yours made me want to cry out, NO! and run home back across the country to play in my old tree fort at my childhood home.

    GREAT imagery both of you!
    This is going to be a close one!

  • Carol Baldwin

    both great poems– you are both word masters in my book!

  • Greg Pincus

    For crying out loud, people! Don’t you care about us at all? Sure, you write and send in, then WE have to make CHOICES. Couldn’t one of you have messed up just a tiny, tiny bit? These are fabulous. I don’t have a clue how to figure this. I wonder how many times I’ll read them before I do…. Superb.

    • Allan Wolf

      Greg. Can I recommend that you just pick mine? Dempsey has so much going for her. She can handle the disappointment. I, on the other hand, and shallow and fragile.

      • Greg Pincus

        I like the directness. You can definitely make that recommendation. Of course, there’s nothing that says I won’t scoff at it, but you can definitely make it.

  • Donna Smith

    Yes, I agree. Everyone is being derelict and should rewind and do these two again, only not as well, so we could vote better.

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    awesome. I mean truly.

  • Darren Sardelli

    Love the poem Allan.
    Good luck to both of you.

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Love both of these.

  • Amy LV

    Kristy – I love the zesty movement in your poem here and your play in THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK too – got my copy today! Aw, Allan – how did you know that PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON is my saddest song. These really got me.

  • Pam

    Allan, Allan, Allan! Shame on you. To give images of forgotten jungle gyms and forts. I literally did that quick inhale thing. Little pull of the strings there, loved it! Kristy, I love the dip and rise, sing songy nature of your poem. Such a visually lyrical piece. Great jobs to both of you.

  • Mrs. Harvey’s Class

    Hi Kristy and Allan! We really like both of your poems! They are both very delicious in the mind! Kristy, thank you for your support, compliment and superb effort! Allan, your poem made my teacher cry! We had a terrible time deciding which one to vote for.

    • Allan Wolf

      Hey Mrs Havey’s Class!

      Where do ya’ll go to school? GReat to hear from you.

      Allan W.

  • Pam

    Wait, rewind. I meant lyrically, visual piece.

  • Hannah Ruth Wilde

    My child’s heart was hit with these. Yes please, Ed, concoct something so we are not forlorn on April Fool’s Day.

  • Hannah Ruth Wilde

    Uh-oh, I think I’m cyberstalking the Wolf – from facebook, to your teacher’s guide to performance poetry, Haiku Stickies, and now a new book on my list. Shameful.

    • Allan Wolf

      Hannah, I think most authors refer to stalkers as “fans.” ; )

  • Doraine Bennett

    Honestly, I think reading the comments is nearly as much fun as reading the poems. Two good poems. Allan I don’t even mind having lost to you in the first round.

  • Dom D

    Wow – derelict, you are not sir. And I had to rewind before making a choice. Great poems by both!

  • Kristy Dempsey

    Ooooo, darn. I have no way to swoop in with 45 minutes left and conjure up 30 points. This one’s yours, Allan. And I’ll be cheering for you to the end! (And beyond!) Good luck!

    • Susan Taylor Brown

      Kristy, you should have tripped Allan on his way to the keyboard.

      • Kristy Dempsey

        I know! I need a ref to call a technical or something. FOUL! One final shot for 30 points?! :)

        • Allan Wolf

          Okay Susan, don’t get all Tonya Harding on me. Excellent match Kristy. Well played.

          • Susan Taylor Brown

            Shush, Allan. I’m trying that move on Greg in our match.

  • Sydney Pappas

    So glad to hear I am not the only one cyberstalking, I mean a fan of Allan Wolf! Have you seen him move his body though? He moves like a Wolf and I don’t think he can be tripped up.